Memorials of the Faithful

Ustád `Alí-Akbar-i-Najjar

Ustád `Alí-Akbar, the Cabinet-Maker,[Ustád is a master, one who is skilled in an art or profession.] was numbered among the just, a prince of the righteous. He was one of Persia's earliest believers and a leading member of that company. From the beginning of the Cause a trusted confidant, he loosed his tongue to proclaim the Faith. He informed himself as to its proofs, and went deep into its Scriptures. He was also a gifted poet, writing odes in eulogy of Bahá'u'lláh.

Exceptionally skilled in his craft, Ustád produced highly ingenious work, fashioning carpentry that, for intricacy and precision, resembled mosaic inlay. He was expert in mathematics as well, solving and explaining difficult problems.

From Yazd, this revered man traveled to `Iráq, where he achieved the honor of entering the presence of Bahá'u'lláh, and received abundant grace. The Blessed Beauty showered favors upon Ustád `Alí, who entered His presence almost every day. He was one of those who were exiled from Baghdád to Mosul, and he endured severe hardships there. He remained a long time in Mosul, in extremely straitened circumstances but resigned to the will of God, always in prayer and supplication, and with a thankful tongue.

Finally he came from Mosul to the Holy Shrine and here by the tomb of Bahá'u'lláh he would meditate and pray. In the dark of the night, restless and uneasy, he would lament and cry out; when he was supplicating God his heart burned within him; his eyes would shed their tears, and he would lift up his voice and chant. He was completely cut off from this dust heap, this mortal world. He shunned it, he asked but one thing--to soar away; and he hoped for the promised recompense to come. He could not bear for the Light of the World to have disappeared, and what he sought was the paradise of reunion with Him, and what his eyes hungered to behold was the glory of the Abhá Realm. At last his prayer was answered and he rose upward into the world of God, to the gathering-place of the splendors of the Lord of Lords.

Upon him be God's benediction and praise, and may God bring him into the abode of peace, as He has written in His book: "For them is an abode of peace with their Lord."[Qur'án 6:127.] "And to those who serve Him, is God full of kindness."[Qur'án 3:28.]

This chief of free souls, of wanderers for the love of God, was only an infant when, in Mazgán, he was suckled at the breast of grace. He was a child of the eminent scholar, Shaykh-i-Mazgani; his noble father was one of the leading citizens of Qamsar, near shán, and for piety, holiness, and the fear of God he had no peer. This father embodied all the qualities that are worthy of praise; moreover his ways were pleasing, his disposition good, he was an excellent companion, and for all these things he was well known. When he threw off restraint and openly declared himself a believer, the faithless, whether friend or stranger, turned their backs on him and began to plot his death. But he continued to further the Cause, to alert the people's hearts, and to welcome the newcomers as generously as ever. Thus in shán the fame of his strong faith reached as high as the Milky Way. Then the pitiless aggressors rose up, plundered his possessions and killed him.

`Alí-Akbar, the son of him who had laid down his life in the pathway of God, could live in that place no longer. Had he remained, he too, like his father, would have been put to the sword. He passed some time in `Iráq, and received the honor of being in the presence of Bahá'u'lláh. Then he went back to Persia, but again he longed to look upon Bahá'u'lláh, and with his wife he set out over the deserts and mountains, sometimes riding, sometimes on foot, measuring off the miles, passing from one shore to the other, reaching the Holy Place at last and in the shade of the Divine Lote-Tree finding safety and peace.

When the beauty of the Desired One had vanished from this world, `Alí-Akbar remained loyal to the Covenant and prospered under the grace of God. By disposition and because of the intense love in his heart, he yearned to write poetry, to fashion odes and ghazáls, but he lacked both meter and rhyme:

I planned a poem, but my Beloved told me,

"Plan only this, that thine eyes should behold Me." With rapturous longing, his heart desired the realms of his compassionate Lord; consumed by burning love, he left this world at last, and pitched his tent in the world above. May God send down upon his grave, from the Kingdom of His forgiveness, a heavy rain[Qur'án 2:266, 267.] of blessings, bestow a great victory upon him, and grant him mercies, pressed down and running over, in the retreats of Heaven.

Memorials of the Faithful
pages 102-106

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